There are many different opinions on co-sleeping with a baby. Many moms are adamant that it is not good to do, and other moms swear by it. Some pediatricians are pro co-sleeping, while some think it causes issues for the child down the road.
When I brought my daughter home I never even thought about where I stood on the issue. I had a crib, and I intended to use it. I mean, it cost a lot of money! The first few months my daughter slept in a co-sleeper in our room, mainly because I was afraid of SIDS and having her in her own room. I would wake up every hour to make sure she was OK and feel her heartbeat. Having her next to the bed made this so much easier than having her in another room. Plus, I was breastfeeding her, so the nightly feedings made it simpler to have her near us in our bedroom.
She slept amazing those six months. Eight hours a night, with a few feedings in between. Then she outgrew her co-sleeper.
I tried to move her into her crib, but she would scream like it was nobody’s business. I just couldn’t take it. So I started having her sleep with me. And I fell in love with it.
In many countries, co-sleeping is totally normal and has been done for thousands of years. Different cultures and income levels obviously are important factors in where children sleep, and for many people around the world having a crib or an extra bedroom is a luxury. I have personally visited third world countries where entire families live in one small bedroom and sleep in the same bed together. Mothers and babies sleeping in the same bed is one of the most natural experiences ever done in the history of mankind.
I found it more natural than anything I had ever done. Having my baby sleep with me has been my favorite experience of motherhood. Her warm, small, soft body against mine allowed me to drift into a deep and safe sleep knowing she was safe. SIDS has been a distant fear, knowing my daughters steady heartbeat and feeling it throughout the night. I never once rolled over on her, and always felt comfortable co-sleeping. Many other moms I know who co-slept with their children had the same experience. I have loved the many mornings where I have been woken up by her huge, bright smile, giggles, and happy hands slapping me in the face to wake up!
That is why tonight was so hard for me. See, my daughter is fifteen months now. She is long, strong, and rotates horizontally during the night and kicks me and my husband in the face. For months we knew it was time to transition her to the crib, and for the most part she falls asleep in there. But she still wakes up for a 2 am feeding. That is when I usually bring her into bed with me, and enjoy waking up with her in the morning. But not tonight. 🙁
See, I want her to get a full nights sleep, and I need one too. So I have decided the time has come to let her cry to sleep and try to get her needed 8 hours. Tonight, as I watched her falling asleep, I was overcome with sadness. I think the hardest part of letting go is knowing that she might actually be more comfortable in her own bed, and that she might want that at some point. I have cherished sleeping with my baby for the last year and am sad to let that go.
But I feel it is time for my hubby and I to have our bed back, and to let our little one know that she is a big, strong girl- and that her bedroom is a safe and wonderful place. I need to release her into the next stage and be a mom who is strong for her. I think I am more sad than her! It is hard to watch your baby grow and do what is best for them. I selfishly want her to need me forever, but know that what she really needs is to know that she can sleep on her own, too.
Thanks for letting me share this intimate and silly experience I am going through. I am so sad I am transitioning through a new stage but know it is for the best!